Information and support for childminders...

Friendly Childminders image.jpg

 

Sometimes we just need someone

to bounce ideas off, which can be

tricky as a childminder working

alone.  There are some great

closed Facebook groups if you search for 'childminders'.  Friendly Childminders is one that I established at the end of 2018 and it's a lovely online community, where you can ask the daft questions and get advice. 

 

Please be mindful when using social media. Stick to the rules of groups, observe safeguarding and confidentiality policies and use your common sense. 

 

In addition to online communities, find out about  local groups and events that you can attend with mindees.  You may even find playgroup sessions specifically for childminders, which may help you get to know local minders!  Post covid, lots of groups are starting up again, so it's a great opportunity to join one! 

Childminding Community

Do you need help finding the 'right' families?  

Families are like buses - sometimes you may have a waiting list and at other times, you may have vacancies that you are struggling to fill.  When choosing new families to work with, always trust your instincts.  If things are a bit tricky financially, do not lower your standards or bend your business rules as you know you will regret it a few months down the line!  

There are few different ways to advertise:

  • Local council's childminding directory 

  • Through your local schools

  • Adverts in local shops/the Post Office etc.

  • Chatting to people when you're out and about with your mindees

  • Word of mouth generally and recommendations from others

  • A Facebook page*

  • A website*

  • Websites like Childcare.co.uk, where you can pay for a subscription and set up a profile for parents/carers to contact you.

  • Childminder Finder' Facebook group for your local area where families and childminders can connect - if there isn't one for your area, maybe you could set one up

  • Local community groups/sales

and wants pages on

Facebook where families

often start their childcare

search

  • Paid advertisements - Facebook boosts or in local publications 

If you know of anymore, please let me know and I can add them to the list.

**For my childminding business, I have both a website and a Facebook page and I use them in different ways.  I direct families to my website when they make an initial enquiry so they can get a vibe for my setting and what I offer, whilst finding out about fees, opening times etc.  I use my public FB page to share our day to day life (my mindees' faces are always pixellated and I never say in advance where we are going). This  works well for both potential and current families, as they can see all the fun and adventures we enjoy together. 

Are you thinking about becoming a childminder? 

You may have made your mind up, or you may just have fallen down a Google/Facebook rabbit hole and ended up here - whatever has piqued your interest, here's some information that may help you if you are looking to become a childminder.

Childminding nuggets of wisdom...  

When I was setting up, my lovely

friend had not long since made

the leap to childminding. She had all the patience in the world as she answered my 4923949 random questions!  She gave me some fantastic advice that helped me so much and I am passing that onto you, along with some nuggets of wisdom I learnt along the way. 

  •  Always trust your instincts when taking on families.  If something doesn't feel right, there's a reason for that and you should listen to yourself! 

  •  Put your own family first, always! 

  •  Always get payment in advance - no payment, no care.

  • Set your stall out from day one in regards to your opening times, expectations and what you expect from the families you work with.

  • If things go wrong, write it all down and keep good records for everything. 

  • Ofsted inspectors are people too.

  • Read the EYFS Statutory 

Framework (or equivalent),

highlight it and make brief

notes in the margins, because

although you don't need to

know it off by heart, you should be familiar with it!

  • Keep your accounts in order as you go along to save a mad panic at the end of the financial year.

  • Always be 100% honest with your families - they trust you to care for their children and deserve to know the good, the bad and the ugly but you know, always be tactful! 

  • Your business, your rules and keep your standards high! 

  • Get yourself out and about to try and meet other childminders; be mindful that you won't like them all but be open minded and you will find your childminder tribe! 

  • Keep your days simple and always follow the interests of the children. 

  • Invest in good sturdy boots and

  • a decent waterproof coat.

  • Always take spare clothes for

  • the mindees' out with you, along with wipes/cloths and most definitely a first aid kit. 

  • Share ideas with other childminders, but do not compare your settings or practises with others.  Discover what works for your business and do that!

  • At some point, you will have someone else's poo/wee/sick/spit/mushed up food on you - clean it off and move on.

  • Accept that the playdough colours will get mixed up and toys will disappear completely, only to turn up weeks later in random places!

  • Buy the best buggy you can

afford and double check it can

fit in your boot, if you drive!

  • Reach out to the Early Years Team at your local council and ask them to add you to their mailing list so you are kept informed of what's happening within your local authority!

  • Have fun, every day and don't take yourself too seriously!

  • Some days will be really hard and you will doubt yourself and your abilities, whilst on other days you will feel like you've smashed it and have the best job in the world - both of those are normal, so just roll with it!